Is it Plugged In??
The simple answer is always the best one. Brevity is the key to good communication. Momma says, “Because I said so!”. All are good statements and it seems everyone has found this to be the case for the short-attention-span world we live in. So, why do you spend hours and days trying to communicate directions to your employees when a simple statement is the best direction?
For example, I love talking with technical people. They are the most needed group in any organization because we all have gadgets at the heart of any of our tasks. When things go wrong is when the IT Department is really valuable. What is the first question that IT asks when they are helping you? Answer: “Is it plugged in?” Why do they start there when so many other things can be wrong with a computer? It’s because that is the number one answer to computer problems. A cord gets knocked loose and all you need to do is plug it back in.
The rational side of me would have a message that plays before you can talk with the Tech Team. It would say, “Check to see that your computer is plugged in. If you do not check and that is the problem, you owe the technician $100.” That, of course, would handle most of the issues, but it would put half the IT Department out of work. With everyone handling their own power problems what would a techie do? Of course losing IT employees is risky when you may need them when the real problems hit.
I was in a store this past week talking with the owner. He said he wanted to sell more products. The manager walked up to us at that moment and I simply told her to sell 5% more products. She gave me a frown and then smiled and said “OK”. Just like that she was telling her team to sell more. No explaining. No motivational statements. No incentives. I told her what I wanted and she went back to her team and made it happen. She was plugged in to what the owner wanted.
I was in a fast food restaurant not long ago and they were an organizational mess. When I finally got a chance to order, the girl behind the counter was rude to me. Instead of being rude back to her, I asked a simple question. What did your manager tell you your job was in this restaurant? She was full of wonderful sentiment, so I asked to talk with her manager. I asked him what he told his staff was their main job. He wasted no time in telling me that it was to help customers. I don’t think that is the message he told his crew, but I left with my money and more to talk about here on Business Bulldog. He apparently wasted his breath on some half-baked meeting where he kind of gave the idea that the customers were the reason they had a job. I had the idea that the place should be shut down before they hurt someone.
Why do we get frustrated with not getting the results we want when the message is the problem? I think you know that answer. You want to make sure everyone sees things your way. They should understand your reasons behind doing everything you do and follow along because your way is the best way. What you miss is that they just aren’t plugged in. When you tell an employee what you want they will either do it or not. The outcome is where you need to spend your time, not in the directions. If they don’t follow your orders find out why and then direct again.
Keep things simple in your business. We are amazing at complicating anything. Plug yourself in and make the simple, effective leadership your way of doing business.
Bob Griffin – CEO